Bear With Incredible Will to Survive

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A black bear was spotted in Cocke County Tennessee, not uncommon, but this bear had something stuck on his head. The first report of this black bear with something like an astronaut helmet on its head was June 28th. A Newport Utilities employee saw the bear near the Newport water plant. When Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers were able to make it out the next day, they were unable to locate the bear. A week later another spotting, but the bear would run away. Over the next weeks there were many reports (50) from people who saw a bear with something on its head. A wildlife official even tried to shoot the bear with a tranquilizer, but missed.

Cocke County wildlife officer Shelley Hammonds found out that the bear was still alive on July 16th, and was last seen around Interstate 40 in Newport. Hammonds was on her way to the last sighting when the bear ran across the road in front of her car. Hammonds darted it. The bear finally went down in a parking lot, drawing a crowd. Hammonds a registered nurse and emergency medical technician, administered intravenous fluids with help from another nurse on the scene. Finally after the bear's 3 week ordeal he was freed from the plastic jar.

The bear had been unable to eat during the three weeks. Only able to get water by putting his head under water in a stream to fill the jar. The jar was tight around his neck, making even breathing difficult. He should have weighed 200 lbs but was only at 115 lbs. The bear was released in Cherokee National Forest. "I honestly don't know how any creature on earth could live through that kind of heat and dehydration, surviving on its own breath," Hammond said. "When you see an animal with such an incredible will to survive, you really want to help it." From Knoxville News Sentinel.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

That's a pretty cool story! 

That's a pretty cool story!  Glad to see that the bear was able to be helped.  Makes you wonder though, what was in that in the first place to make him want it so bad????

Hopefully he'll be free to go eat and fatten up now. 

groovy mike's picture

poor bear!

I am very glad to hear that the bear was released from his suffering and will get to eat and drink freely again!

I hate to hear about anything suffering.  And I'm glad for the happy ending!

deerhunter30's picture

That bear sure was a fighter.

That bear sure was a fighter. I am just glad that they were able to catch it and get the jar off his head.

I am a full fledge hunter but there is no sense in something dying from starvation or heat that is just cruel.

So thanks to everyone who had there hands in on saving this bear.

hunter25's picture

I have read and heard about

I have read and heard about many stories of animals with injuries ranging from legs shot off or things stuck around there necks and similar. But this is by far the best as with that bottle on his head it is unbelievable he was able to survive so long. The part about putting his head under water is amazing. I wonder if that was his plan or if he was just trying to get a drink and it worked out that way. It doesn't say if someone actually witnessed this happening. I'm glad to see that they finally found and were able to save him though as he deserves to live a bit longer for as hard as he worked to survive.

Hopefully he doesn't become a problem bear as with over 50 reports of being sighted he obviously lives and feeds in a very populous area.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Wow now that is rally a great

Wow now that is rally a great story.  I do not think that is the bear that i want to come acrros while out hunting for bear.  You could shoot him and he could either live for days or it will piss him off so badly that he will atctack,  Glad mto see that all the officals were diligent in getting this bear caught and taken care of.  I too am wondering if they are gonna track him somehow.  Niice to knoiw here in amonth or so if he is still doing OK.

arrowflipper's picture


What an incredible story of the will to live.  We often hear of people who go through incredible conditions and survive.  Seldom do we hear or get to see animals that make it through insurmountable odds.

I am sorry that it took so long to catch up to the animal, but I'm glad they were persistent in trying.  It shows that we have a concern and compassion for animals, even though some of us hunt them.

I wonder if they put a tracking collar on the bear so they could follow it and find out how it's doing?  It just seems logical that they would have done that.  And I wonder if they gave him/her a name?

I am amazed that the bear would stick its head into the water long enough to let water seep in around the edges so it could drink.  I'm sure that's not a natural thing for them to do.  Great story with an even greater ending.